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The Mark of the Jaik
If there are any who doubt the elite status of the Mark of Jaik, they will undoubtedly find themselves eating crow once the Mark is put to test. Serving as the bodyguard for the crown and as the knights of the land, the Mark has taken on the name of the Adventuring King as a symbol of their prowess. Honed to a sharpness rivaling their swords, the Mark's number is kept relatively small, numbering no more than one hundred at any given time. This allows the high standards of the Mark to be regulated and the membership monitored without fear of mistake. A Marksman is revered by those who revere the Corian crown, respected by warriors of all walks, and feared by the enemies of Coria.
Requirements: In order to achieve the status of Marksman, a person need to have attained 5th level and be of Paladin, Fighter or Ranger class (or any prestige class that is associated directly with the aforementioned classes). They must be Lawful Good and have proven themselves worthy of respect by the Mark through reputation and deed. Then, they must pass the Test.
Hierarchy: Sitting at the head of the Mark is the Jaikai (pronounced Juh-ki). The Jaikai is advised by two Protectorates. Each Protectorate is in charge of roughly fifty men and women, called a Hilt. The hilt is broken down into further units of ten Marksmen each called Bastions. Each bastion is commanded by a Prementor. The bastion is then broken down into Shields consisting of five Marksmen each and commanded by Shield Commanders.
Emblem: A silver helm profiled with a white plume on a green field.
Motto: Our life, our honor, for the crown of Coria.
Edicts: The Crown of Coria before personal life. The Crown of Coria before personal glory. The Crown of Coria before self. Respect shown to all. Protection of the subjects of the Crown. Death before dishonor. Skill at Arms is the right leg of the measure of one's worth. Honor is the left leg of the measure of one's worth.
Responsibilities/Jurisdictions: The primary responsibility of the Mark of Jaik is to protect the crown, the royal family, and the castle in Coria city. However, over time the Mark has been called upon to perform special quests in the service of Coria, to protect visiting dignitaries, and to act as a vanguard for the military.
Oaths & Loyalties: There is only one oath for the Mark of Jaik and that oath requires that the taker make all loyalties to the edicts and purpose of the Mark, even unto the laying down of one's own life to protect the honor of the Mark, the crown and country. Their loyalty is firstly to the crown, second to the Mark, and thirdly to the kingdom.
Ceremonies: The entrance ceremony is quite elaborate. It begins with a cleansing ceremony held by the clergy of Rydor which usually lasts for an hour and takes place in front of the entire available body of the Mark, whatever nobility may desire to attend, and the monarchy. The next step is a proper reciting of the edicts and the Oath of Jaik which usually takes no more than fifteen minutes. Then the clergy of Therassor will walk the new Marksman through the Blessing of Arms in which they bless his sword and shield to benefit the Crown, Mark, and Kingdom. This ceremony usually lasts for an hour. After which time there is a large feast for all who have attended followed by a display of skills by selected Marksmen (including the newly appointed). This display lasts for the remainder of the afternoon followed by a grand feast.
Benefits: A Marksman is given armor, blessed and enchanted to benefit their position (in 3E terms: Half-plate +1 of Moderate Fortification, a medium steel shield +1 of Spell Resistance (13) bearing the symbol of the Mark in the upper right hand field and the symbol of Coria in the lower left, and a finely crafted longsword +1 of Defending with the symbol of the Mark cast into the silver hilt. Should a Marksman die, they are given top honors in funeral services - often a ceremony held before the gathered populace of Coria city. Their body is entombed within a special tomb, protected from being raised to undead status, and their name is added to the Jaik Alaris monument in Alaris Square. Should they have any family, the Funeral Pension is enough to provide for the family for a couple of generations. In addition to these benefits the ranks of the Mark of Jaik are extremely loyal to one another and if one is afflicted with circumstance the others will immediately come to their aid.
Dismissal: Dismissal from the Mark is a rarity, and usually only done when a Marksman has committed a grievous act of cowardice, broken oath, ignored edicts, or failed in service to such a degree that they are found incompetent. In all cases they are publicly stripped of uniform, armor, shield, and sword and denounced as a member of the Mark. Thereafter most Marksmen shun association with the fallen member.
Thanks to Bromern Sal for this contribution!